Article 3: 500 Words
Article 3: Rhetorical Analysis of a Secondary Source (500 words)
For Article 3, you’ll be taking a very similar approach, except now the focus is on a secondary source related to the topic. Ideally, you want a secondary source that talks about the primary source from Article 2, but this isn’t required.
With Article 2, it’s very likely that you may have misused some of the rhetorical terms. That’s okay — that’s normal. We learn by doing — if any of the terms caused difficulty in Article 2, work on using them better in Articles 3, 4, and 5.
Now, here’s the twist for Article 3. In order to do a rhetorical analysis of a text, you must first understand which genre the text is in. For a secondary source, this may require research into areas that have little to do with your specific topic, but everything to do with the type of writing seen in your secondary source.
For example, let’s say your secondary source is a restaurant review of Rudolph’s Pancake House:
- This restaurant review by Veronica Yang of The Pantagraph describes the experience of eating at Rudolph’s Pancake House, a new restaurant on the south side of Bloomington. In her review, Yang uses half the text of her article to describe the specific foods that she ordered, and she describes the flavors and her feelings about them as she does so. This fits with the genre of restaurant reviews — according to FoodBlob99 on Reddit, a good restaurant review “needs to give very specific details about the food and how it tastes. I don’t trust any reviewer who just says ‘it was yummy, you should try it!’”
Here, make sure you use specific quotes from the article to support your points:
- Although Yang says she enjoyed the atmosphere at the restaurant, she said the food itself was subpar. She said the pancakes were “rubbery,” the eggs were “green,” and the tap water “was like having Fred Astaire dancing down my throat.”
Be sure you give us your impressions of this source. Is it reliable? Can we trust it? How does it compare to others? Again, use outside research to get the broader context:
- I enjoyed reading Yang’s article, but then I did additional research that leads me to question Yang’s purpose. According to Yang’s public profile on Facebook, she’s the daughter of Vigo Yang, a competing restaurant owner who sells sugar-coated pancakes at a notorious black market warehouse across the street from Rudolph’s Pancake House (BloNo Enquirer). Vigo is also a “suspected vampire” according to GhostBlog.org. From my research, I can’t tell if this affected Yang’s article. I couldn’t find any information describing the relationship between Yang and her father. However, Yang does also post Yelp! reviews under the username TheLessEvilYang, and under the “Compliments” tab on her profile, eleven other users have said they found her reviews both helpful and accurate. And although this might be unrelated, Yang’s profile picture is an image of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she may be using this as a way to distance herself from her father. On the other hand, TheLessEvilYang may be a playful dig at her father’s reputation as a creature of darkness — a reputation that appears to stem from the annual Halloween party her father hosts at his Pancake Warehouse.
Finally, I encourage you to give the “next steps” in research — including steps that you won’t be taking. And yes, you should always have ideas for things that you simply don’t have the time or resources or inclination to try. It’s definitely not required to go interviewing sources, for example, but you should be able to figure out which people would be worth interviewing:
Since Rudolph’s pancake house is a new restaurant, I couldn’t find any additional reviews to compare it — it still has no reviews on Yelp! If I had a car and an extra $15, I would drive down to Rudolph’s Pancake House to try the food myself. It might also be worth giving the restaurant a call to ask for their response to Yang’s article, or to message Yang on Facebook to see if she’d like to share more information about how she wrote her article. In particular, I’d like to hear more about the Halloween party her father hosts, and whether the competition with her father’s Sugar Hallows Pancakes had any effect on her article about the food at Rudolph’s. Also, if Rudolph’s financial records become publicly available in the future, examining these documents could indicate whether Rudolph’s has been financially successful, and that may somewhat reflect the quality of the food.